Saturday, August 31, 2013

August's End

Here it goes...rushing off towards September, knocking things over in it's wake. We are having July weather here, the heat index was in triple digits again today. Too hot to breathe.  Life sucking heat. Yuck.

 And I feel crazy.  All the gardn stuff is coming in at once. The quality is so-so...thanks weird weather !  It got cool and cloudy when it needed to be hot and sunny. And then it stayed that way for too long.  Now it should be cooling some, and instead it's a hundred degrees and no rain for weeks  and the garden is about to go up in flames.  And part of me (that DISTURBED part) hopes it does and that I have a camera with me. Even though I don't have nearly enough food put by.  Even though I'm dancing as fast as I can. 

  I dehydrated tomatoes and okra today. Yesterday I picked about a bushel of edamame pods --the rest dried up and will be saved for seed for next year. I guess.   A bushel of edamame pods isn't nearly as much as I would like to may turn into 3-4 quart bags tops.  I'd much rather have 15-20 bags, as usual.  SInce I blogged last (I think) I have canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and sweet relish. There are ugly giant green beans out there that are good for nothing. I don't even want to pick them.  It's been so hot you can't be out in it for more than about 15 minutes at a time. It makes for some tedious gardening. The chickens are sufering, even though they have shade and 3 waterers...they are panting like they want to lay down and die, and I know just how they feel, because the heat does that to me too. Egg production has been off this whole season.  This is turning into one of those years that make you glad you have overcanned and dried and frozen the past couple of years. You know (fingers crossed) you aren't going to starve, but you may wind up eating some (cough) interesting meals. I'll be glad when it's over.

  It's a holiday weekend.  We are talking of a possible picnic on Monday, IF it cools off.  If not, I'm content to stay home with the drapes closed. Watch movies.  Eat like a pig.  I'm trying to stay close to my food plan, but some days (like last night) I ate too late and we went to a Mexican place and I had a couple of tortilla chips (corn is a no-no) and a dab of sour cream (dairy is a no-no) and a shrimp quesadilla with some cheese sauce (more dairy--eek!  and the flour tortilla (wheat is a no-no). Sigh...but it was surely tasty.  I got on the scale this morning and I did indeed gain back a pound.  I haven't been eating ENOUGH either--this weather makes it really hard to eat.  This too shall pass, I'm sure.  Today I bought some protein powder packets to add to smoothies or juices. That will help.  Bought a couple of different ones to try before I buy a big expensive container.I ate a snack this morning between breakfast and lunch, but then I didn't eat another one like I'm supposed to. Had a nice veggie stir-fry over rice for supper, with a reasonable piece of broiled salmon on the side. I'm still not hungry, and need to have a snack. Maybe I can choke down a few almonds....

 My nephew and his girlfriend dropped by unexpectedly tonight, with his newest adopted sister.  His mother is a child hoarder. Her youngest one is grown now, so she adopted 2 more.   A very sweet girl and we had a delightful; visit. My house, of course, was a mess. But--so were they. They had been out at a local lake swimming all day and I felt loved by his wanting to stop in and see his old auntie.  Warmed my mean old heart...

 I finally found those goofy light bulbs for my kitchen ceiling light. They're a halogen bulb and a little expensive, but the damned thing kept burning out bulbs one at a time until there was only 1 left, and I couldn't see well enough to do anything in the kitchen. I feel like I have died and gone to a well lit heaven now.   LOL  I bought that light on a clearance sale, and I was afraid I was going to have to buy a whole new fixture. Had pretty much decided to just go back to another fluorescent, as much as I dislike them, because it was easier and cheaper. Problem solved.

 Okay. I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight.  I'm finishing up my almonds. I'll drink the rest of my water and  mosey off in that direction.

 Happy Labor Day Weekend, folks.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

If that cat sneezes one more time...

I have a big grey cat, a Russian Blue. 

He has allergies. Or SOMETHING.  And he sneezes continually when he's in the house. Nasty sneezes. Snotty hurling sneezes.  It's disgusting. And the stuff is stronger than Liquid Nails once it dries, and you can't get it off.  I can hear him sneezing in the other room...ggrrrrrrrr...

 But he's a sweet guy, other than that. The only male in a house full of female pets. And this morning, he knocked the bejeezus out of the Jack Russell Terrorist.  Because he could. She was racing around after her ball, and got a little too close to HIS coffee table that he was lounging on. BOOM !  Nailed her.  She jumped and yelped and cut a wide swath around him for the rest of the day.  He knows how to get results, that cat.


  I am winding down from a long day of accomplishing nothing. I had a list--such a beautiful list !!  It had about 14 things on it, and I got about 2 of them done. I made hummus. I picked grape leaves to stuff for the vegetarian potluck we went to tonight.  It took me the better part of the day to make that stuff. And the dolma was not that good. The grape leaves were bitter. The filling, though chock full of exotic spices like, fennel and cardamom and coriander, tasted bland to me.  The hummus, on the other hand, was stellar.

  You win some, you lose some.

  Tomorrow I have laundry to wash and hang outside. I have tomatoes and okra to dehydrate. I have edamame to harvest. I have spinach and chard to plant. (I planted beets yesterday).  I have a husband with 4 days off  IN A ROW.  It should be interesting.

  I have had another little round of gastric distress this morning after eating a steak yesterday. I think red meat is back off the docket for me. This has been yucky...nothing like the food poisoning, but uncomfortable enough to make me say--I don't need that.  Blech.


  I learned about something today in discussion group, (we're reading the fall issue of YES! magazine).  Something I had never heard of that is apparently going on behind closed's called TPP  Trans pacific partnership   Word needs to get out about this travesty before it gets signed into law. It will be the downfall of American Industry, particularly manufacturing.  It's been described as NAFTA on steroids.  This is one of those things that needs to be brought to the attention of the people in our country. Please check it out....


  Have you ever read YES! magazine ?? It's remarkable.  Here's a link to check it out:       I'm in love with this publication.  One of those once in a lifetime publications that makes you sit up and take notice, and start paying attention.


  Okay--it's after midnight and I need to be in bed.  I wanted to stop in and say hey before it got to be 2 weeks since I posted again, lol.  I really do have lots to tell you, but I'm awfully tired tonight.

 I'll be back....


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Where oh where can she be....

 Heavens to Mercatroid ...

   Somewhere, last Sunday, either at the AA picnic or at the little restaurant the Irishman and I ate a late supper,  I got food poisoning. 

   Yup~~food poisoning.  Monday evening I started crashing, feeling feverish and weak and exhausted. Went to bed at 10 o'clock and slept until 9:30 the next morning. Got up feeling pretty yucky, and by about 11:30 the gates of hell opened  and the abdominal cramping started and the rest, as they say, is history.  For 3 days I was a prisoner of the bed and bathroom. When I wasn't on the toilet, I was either sleeping or trying to get to the toilet.  Unsuccessfully, often.  It was a nightmare. My poor husband, kept saying maybe we should go to the ER ??  And I kept saying, I can't leave the house...and would double up in pain and cry, or fly to the toilet. 

  3 days. I thought I was gonna die.  

 But--here I am, not dead. The crisis has passed and I told himself that I am never leaving my house again.  lol

  By Friday, I was feeling better, although still a little weak (I had lost 6 pounds in 3 days).  I have to say, I did a good job of working very hard to keep myself hydrated.  It's probably all that saved me.  lol  Looking around my kitchen, I almost started to cry. Overripe vegetables, rotting vegetables that should have been canned days ago...and I had a big stockpot full of diced tomatoes and onions that were the beginnings of a salsa canning fest in the fridge.  I was afraid to check them. It had taken a lot of work, chopping all those tomatoes and onions, and I had decided to stop Monday afternoon late because I was feeling so tired. So I stuck them in the fridge to finish on Tuesday morning. Right.

  Miraculously, they were still okay. So on Friday, I limped around the kitchen and finished chopping peppers and cilantro and parsley and canned 24 jars of salsa. In between, I would lie on the couch and rest up. 

I kinda took Saturday off, and went to do a little spreading some money around at the Green Earth market and picked up some organics that I needed, went to an 11 AM meeting where I got to socialize with some people I really like, and then came home and puttered around in the garden. I picked another half bushel of green beans to add to the ones already sitting on the counter that the Irishman had picked while I was sick. He and I watched a movie and snapped and trimmed beans on Saturday night (do we know how to live or what ??)  lol   Today, I canned 12 quarts of beans.

  I have about 25 pounds of tomatoes in the kitchen to can tomorrow, as well as about 15 cucumbers to grind up and make relish with.  I think I'm going to just peel and dice the tomatoes. Thought about canning marinara, (and still may at a later date)  but I'm thinking just the diced ones will be good for now. 

  I actually got my kitchen cleaned up.  That made me feel a lot better. lol  Then I went to the garden tonight and picked bell peppers and carrots and okra. Filled up the island again, but that's okay. I'll get that okra in the dehydrator tomorrow. Get those bell peppers sliced and in freezer bags. And do up them 'maters.  And life will be good.

  Tonight I made a vegan coconut ice cream that was really tasty. Very simple recipe and only 4 ingredients. Easy Peasey.  No ice cream maker required, but I have to tell you, I was salivating over the electric ones that make about a quart on Amazon...especially the Cuisanart one.  lol   We had baked chicken breasts, half a sweet potato with cinnamon, and green beans, fresh from the garden for supper. Watched The Man Who Wasn't There (we're big BBT fans) and had a small bowl of the ice cream with some  strawberries from the freezer on top. Mmmmm....

So--barring any unforeseen circumstances (like the Bubonic Plague or something), life on Honeysuckle Hill should be getting back to normal.  I'll have to water in the morning, as we still have gotten no rain.  The okra loves this hot dry weather (oh yeah--it has gotten hot again too)  and the plants are 7-8 feet tall.  The butternut needs harvesting.  Harvested the cabbages the other day too.  

 That's it for me tonight kiddos....


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Peaches, peaches and more peaches...with a little turtle porn thrown in...

It started out like this...

But then it turned into this:

Peach pie filling.  7 quarts of it.   I also canned peach salsa (10 jars)  and plain old sliced peaches (14 jars)  in a light syrup. 

  I still have 1 peck left to do, but I've decided to just freeze them, because I'm sick and tired of the canner mess right now.  lol

 The peaches are gorgeous this year.  Lucky us.

 I'm pooped. I was so tired last night that I slept until almost 9 o'clock this morning. Standing at the sink peeling and slicing those peaches is really hard on me, but there's no way around it. They are so messy, you can't do it anywhere else. I have a tall stool, and I sit on it now and again, but it's bad too, just in a different way, lol.

  I've also dried Roma tomatoes, okra and cucumbers since I was here last.  And there are green beans ready to can and to pick...and oh my !!  Too much !! Too Much !!  lol (And all at once, which is the worst part.)  And it all just wears me out. 

  On a bright note, my darling son got my old riding mower repaired and back in service today.  Woo Hoo.  And it only cost a new battery (that he bought) and one new tire (that I bought).  I'm blessed.  NO more having to walk around behind that push mower. Even with the self-propelled thing, it was an ordeal for me. Of course you can't get everything with the rider, but you can sure get a lot done  in a short time.  And the weedeater might take care of the rest.

  We have an AA annual picnic tomorrow...haven't decided if I'm going or not, as I can't eat most of the stuff there.  Either way, I have to make a dish for the Irishman to take...maybe a dessert?  Or a pasta salad or something.  I don't know...but I guess I'd better figure it out as I only have tomorrow morning to do it in. lol  The local District provides the meat (bbq) and drinks and everyone brings a dish. I usually have a good time there, but I am just really nor in the mood this year. Maybe I'll feel different in the morning...

Alright. I know some of you are saying --where's the PORN ?? I came here for the PORN !!

  This was in our backyard today...

  Can you just see her rolling here eyes, and saying ..."WHAT are you doing ?? Get off me!"

  Alrighty...time for bed....


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Busy Busy...

  Can't believe I haven't posted in a week....but lots going on this time of year, and this year even more.  I have been working on menus and recipes for the Earth Literacy Retreat that started yesterday, and trying to decide if I can actually fit any of the programs in.  Not looking too good, but who knows ? Last night was the opening ceremony and I attended that, after serving supper to 13 people ON TIME.  lol  I didn't get home til after 10.  Slept this morning until 7:30 and am up and at it again. The only thing I'm doing at home today for the supper tonight  is making a dessert...watermelon mint sorbet.   Yesterday I made a big batch of Gazpacho. It was so good that they begged me to leave the leftovers so they could have it with their lunch today.  I was a tiny bit nervous about cooking for these people I don't know, but it all turned out well and they are all lovely.  We have 1 from Canada, 2 from So. CA,  1 from Mexico, 1 from Oklahoma, 1 from Massachusetts, 2 from Missouri, 2 from Illinois, 1 from Seattle and 1 from Uruguay. .. and I can't remember where else.


  Lordy !!  It's another week later still !!!  Yikes, the time has gotten away from me.

  The week long retreat was wonderful, even though I wound up not taking the thing itself. It was too much to try to do with all the cooking.  Had I planned simpler meals, perhaps I could have worked it out, but I don't think so. Too much to do here at home every day to be able to spend that much time there...

  The overwhelming gratitude and praise from these people for the meals I prepared really floored me. I made some new friends and the people that organize the thing have asked me to please do it again next year, that this was the best it has ever been.  All in all, good ego strokes for me...


 The garden is limping along. The weather has been so strange. It LOOKS good--all lush and green still.  I have a counter full of odds and ends sitting here...cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, cabbage, squash...and this after noon I will get the dehydrators out and start drying some stuff.  This morning it is 55 degrees and chilly out there. Destined to hit about 70. We have had no hot/sunny days that are so necessary for the tomatoes and okra, but the cabbages are flourishing.   The butternuts are looking pretty good too...we have about  2 dozen of them out there, which is a pretty nice crop. Raccoons or something are eating my tomatoes.  Not a lot of them, but they're just starting to ripen... The edamame is looking so-so....soybeans need hot dry weather too. We have lots of pods, but I don't know that they are fully developed...we'll see.  We dug about 3/4 of the potatoes and got an okay haul from that, about 2 bushel. The sweet potatoes are looking good, so we'll see.  The lettuce hasn't performed nearly as well this year as it did last year, maybe because of where I planted it, but I don't know. We still have a little that we're eating...the chard was miserable and the kale was okay.  Goofy goofy year, all in all.


  Monday I started Round 2 of the diet. Can't believe I made it through the whole 28 days, it seemed to go really fast.  I lost 10 pounds and some inches...don't know how much, because I didn't measure myself when I started like I was supposed to. But yesterday I wore pants I haven't been able to get into. And most of my clothes feel looser.  SO--this time I measured and am trying to be a lot more strict with myself.  It got hard that last week, because I was eating stuff not on the plan (even though it was mostly all very healthy stuff)  because I had to eat with them when I cooked.  The cooking was all vegetarian and all (or almost all) organic.  And, I made a fresh peach and blueberry pie that I HAD to was magnificent !!  Here it is:

It had a butter pastry crust. The little Sufi Dancers on top are supposed to be angels (for some reason I couldn't find my start shaped cookie cutter). But it got a good laugh when I said they were Sufi dancers, lol.
Maybe this is a better picture, the crust really wasn't dark at all...

No, not much better.  But trust me that it was grand .  lol

Okay, I have to run, sitting with my neighbor today, and we are going down to the river town where they grow lots of peaches around here, because the realtors are coming to show their house. We will have lunch at one of the fish places and get peaches and have a nice little outing. He loves to go places...and she hasn't had the chance to get down there and get some peaches. So....I'm out of here, but will be back soon.

Namaste, y'all !!